Doce fábulas urbanas | Twelve Cautionary Urban Tales
Matadero Madrid
February 2020 - January 2021

An Exhibition on the City: not what it is but what it could be.

According to Alberto Manguel, “there are cities that begin with a few books,” in the same way that there are cities that become books, stories or fables. And it is in the city, just like in the pages of books, where the collective imaginary is born, where the narratives we have carved in our minds and which guide our behavior are created; where social relations take place and produce fictions and frictions, fantasies and dreams, memories and desires, nightmares and fears too. The fact that it is impossible to give one single definition of what a city is provides a wealth of diverse, even divergent interpretations, which are primarily social constructs. The cities are also the setting of the great contemporary challenges—the seemingly never-ending economic crisis, growing global migration, increasing levels of inequality, the housing crisis, and environmental collapse. This need to find or create tools that will subvert the status quo also calls for different and radical forms of communication, ones that will bring us closer to all this information and allow us to appropriately decode it, analyze it, and make it understandable, to allow us to imagine those cities that could be. With this in mind, the exhibition gravitates around one simple question: what is your ideal city like?

In an attempt to respond to these questions, the exhibition Twelve Urban Fables takes its inspiration from the project “Twelve Cautionary Tales for Christmas,” by Superstudio. A group of contemporary practices have been invited to give shape to these “Twelve Urban Fables” by reconceptualizing the original format of Superstudio’s twelve tales and tell us a fable through an artistic installation, creating a series of narratives open to multiple interpretations. They are Aristide Antonas, Katayoun Arian, MAIO, Clara Nubiola, Traumnovelle, Studio Céline Baumann, Chloé Rutzerveld, Bartlebooth, Merve Bedir, Chong Suen, and Sampson Wong, Design Earth, Assemble, and the Canadian Centre for Arquitecture CCA with Francesco Garutti.

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